Feb 21, 2013, 7:54 pm EDT
While much of the focus on the impending sequestration cuts have been on their impact on the defense industry — and the fact that Social Security and Medicare are exempt — the spending decreases will impact many other aspects of American life. Including education.
Education Secretary Arne Duncan is not happy about this. In a breakfast roundtable with reporters today, Duncan blasted congressional leaders for their lack of progress in passing legislation to avoid the sequester. During the meeting, he said:
“There’s no one in their right mind who would say this is good for kids and good for the country, yet somehow it becomes tenable in Washington. I just think people don’t spend enough time in the real world. And if we spent more time in the real world, we wouldn’t have this kind of intransigence here.” Read
Feb 21, 2013, 1:32 pm EDT
In exchange for raising the debt ceiling way back in the summer of 2011, Congress charged a super-committee with designing a large-scale deficit reduction package — or else. The super-committee failed, and that “or else” is now upon us. The U.S. economy faces a serious self-inflicted wound on March 1, barring a still-elusive political compromise.
Throughout the final grueling days of the 2012 presidential election, President Obama and the GOP leadership both assured us that the draconian, immediate cuts to the federal budget known as “the sequester” would not happen. Political observers across the board agreed that Congress and the president would find some way to work together in order to avoid the austerity package. Indeed, the fiscal cliff negotiations of December seemed to confirm that general view — the cuts were postponed for two months. As recently as three weeks ago, defense contractors would not even entertain the idea that their piece of the federal pie might be smaller on March 1.
That consensus has vanished. It looks like the cuts are going to happen. Read
Feb 20, 2013, 10:36 am EDT
Dunkin Brands (NASDAQ:DNKN) is working to change Obamacare.
Dunkin CEO Nigel Travis admitted to pushing a lobbying effort that would alter the Affordable Care Act, reports Boston Business Journal. The company is making an effort to get more restaurant workers classified as part-time instead of full-time. Currently, workers with more than 30 hours per week are considered full-time. Travis wants that raised to 40 hours per week.
The Affordable Care Act requires all businesses with more than 50 full-time workers to ensure them. By raising the hourly requirement to be considered full-time, the number of businesses and the number of employees that would be required to be covered would both drop, reports Newsmax. Read
Feb 20, 2013, 9:01 am EDT
Republican Sen. Marco Rubio is turning water into campaign cash.
Reclaim America — Rubio’s political action committee — has capitalized on the Senator’s awkward water break during his nationally televised response to President Obama’s State of the Union address, reports Time magazine. After the water break attracted criticism in the media, the PAC started giving away water bottles with Rubio’s name on them in return for donations.
The effort has paid off. In the last week, the PAC has moved more than 4,000 bottles and taken in $119,200 in donations. The bottles are available for a minimum donation of $25. The PAC is marketing the bottles with the slogan, “Send the liberal detractors a message that not only does Marco Rubio inspire you…he hydrates you too.” Read
Feb 19, 2013, 6:52 pm EDT
A Tea Party group was forced to apologize today for an e-mail sent out under its name including an image of Republican strategist Karl Rove dressed as a Nazi.
Jenny Beth Martin, the co-founder and national coordinator of the group Tea Party Patriots, released a statement that said the picture was distributed without the group’s knowledge or approval.
“The image … was inappropriate, wrong, and we have ordered them to immediately cease further use of the image,” she said in her statement. Read
Feb 19, 2013, 2:46 pm EDT
Now that her duties as a cabinet secretary are done, Hillary Rodham Clinton will follow her husband, former President Bill Clinton, on the paid speech circuit.
The former Secretary of State has signed with the Harry Walker Agency, which arranges speaking appearances for her husband and other dignitaries and celebrities. At Harry Walker, Clinton joins an impressive bipartisan roster of speakers including Al Gore, Dick Cheney, Karl Rove, Howard Dean and former senator Joe Lieberman, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer notes.
The talk circuit can be highly profitable for former elected officials, especially presidents. Bill Clinton has earned about $89 million in speaking fees since leaving office in 2001. His successor George W. Bush also makes the rounds, and even appeared as a speaker along with Bill Clinton at an event in Canada. Read